COORDINATED BY VEENA RAO
A friend and I got talking recently about what we have in our lives that we are most grateful for. We both arrived at the conclusion that at this point in our lives; it is the freedom to be who we want to be; to be true to ourselves, to make choices without having to worry about being judged or scrutinized, and to allow others the same space.
Having just celebrated the 4th of July, and as we approach India’s independence day, I thought this would be the perfect time to find out what personal freedom means to others in the community.
Over to our readers.
Freedom to Express My Light Fully
Personal freedom is a feeling; an experience of knowing that you have the freedom to express your light fully through thoughts, words and actions. Personal freedom goes beyond the parameters of law. It's about knowing that you have the freedom to express yourself as, when and how you wish knowing that your full expression of yourself serves to enhance others' sense of themselves. As Marianne Williamson wrote: " Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us... We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. "
-Aqsa Zareen Farooqui is a writer, playwright and director of Chai Latte Productions.
Freedom Of Thought, Free Will And Karma
"Being a Hindu, I believe in the philosophy of 'Vasudev Kutumbakam--
the whole world is a family.' My 'personal freedom' revolves around this inherited principal of Dharmic tradition. Personal freedom means I should have freedom of thoughts, free will and Karma (actions). Personal freedom means having compassion for all living beings including animal and mother nature. It also includes taking care of the society where I live, as an extended family. My personal freedom should never go beyond my Dharma (my duties for laws of nature, land and constitution)."
-Swadesh Katoch is an independent IT consultant, national executive team member of Sewa International and a Balagokulam volunteer.
Freedom To Express The Best Part Of Myself
The power to be a catalyst for positive change, within ourselves and with others. The idea of authority and autonomy, but with a sense of responsibility. The feeling that enables you to capture and express the best part of yourself without fear or guilt. Freedom also begets freedom, it enables you to honor the differences and the likeness between yourself and others. Most importantly, it is the pure, simple joy of owning every breath, every action, every decision you make.
-Meeta Chaitanya, is a journalist & a columnist for the Times of India
Freedom To Be My Own Person
Many of us don't get to live the life we want. Some of us are saddled with
debt, disease, sickness, ailing parents, working or living in a place we'd
rather not be in. Some are unhappily married, divorced, or have no
children. Then there are others who get to surround themselves with the
people they love and live their dream; they are the lucky ones. But finding
happiness in what you already have, being able to express your thoughts in
the comfort of your own skin and finding love from those around you is the
freedom to being your own person. Personal freedom is giving yourself the
liberty, despite all obstacles, to be you.
-Anju Gattan is a freelance journalist, former news reporter, and author of ‘Duty and Desire’.
Freedom To Smile From My Heart
Personal freedom for me is to do what I feel is right without any compulsion and being able to sleep without any guilt of my actions. I should be able to stand up and express my opinion without a fear of consequences and to smile from my heart."
-Satheesh Pachiappan is an anti-corruption activist and IT techie.
Real Freedom Has Restrictions
Freedom means EVERYTHING to me and to most people, but real freedom has restrictions. It must not hurt another person or a good social or communal entity. Such freedom would be transgression, but the boundaries of freedom are the very hardest of boundaries to see or discern. Sometimes, these boundaries cannot even be discerned by law, such a when a small $5 drug dealer gets the same sentence as his miilionaire supplier.
-Indrani Dutta-Gupta has a Ph.D. in English and enjoys writing as a pastime.